Sean-Michael (allthecolors) wrote in ftm_in_the_arts,

Forwarding this along in case you're interested

Photography Project: Seeking Participants

I'm transgender (on the FTM-spectrum) and am working on a photography project that addresses transphobic questions and the power dynamics at work in those conversations. I think New Paltz is a fun place, and I know there's something of a trans* community there (I've been to two of the TRANS-Forming Feminism Conferences). I thought folks here might be interested in participating. (See the FAQ below for more info).

I'll be in Westchester County, NY Dec. 25th - Jan. 11th and would like to find people interested in being photographed for this project. I don't have regular access to a car, so I'd most likely have to be able to reach you by public transit. I am willing to travel. (If you think you might be "too far away" email me anyways, and we'll see.) 

If you're interested, or have questions that are not answered below, drop me a line at

What is this exactly?
I'm photographing people who have been on the receiving end of transphobic/genderphobic/gender-baiting questions. Participants are photographed holding a wooden sign (provided by me) of a question they've personally been asked.

Why are you doing this?
I've been trying to think of a way to photographically address transphobic questions, and this seemed like a good visual solution. I've been one of the few "out" undergraduates at my school, and have had to deal with a lot of invasive, inappropriate questions myself. This is a way, I think,  to turn those questions back on their heads.  

Who can participate?
Anyone can participate who self-identifies or self-defines themself as transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, and/or gender variant or is regularly perceived as such (ex. a feminine man, an androgynous person). You can be pre-op, post-op, non-op, hormones/no hormones, etc. Basically, I am interested in photographing people who have been or are on the receiving end of transphobic/gender-baiting questions in a way that places them at a power imbalance. If you want to participate, send me an email. (Minors can participate but a legal guardian must sign the photo release form.)

What will this be used for?
I will use the images towards a body of work for my senior year in the photography major at my university. Images may appear on my photo website in the future. All participants will have to sign a photo release form, to be emailed once you contact me.

What will I get in return?
Within a year of the time I photograph you, I will send you an emailed JPEG version of the image, and/or one print (mailed to your address), if you like.

I'd like to participate, but I'm nervous about having my name used. How can you protect my identity?
Names/initials and other identifying information will not be used in association with the images, unless given express permission by the participant. Faces will be shown in the images, and if you have concerns about that, you may not want to participate.

I'd like to participate, what next?
Send me an email at with the subject line "photo project." You can email me a little bit about yourself if you like. Come up with a list of some of the questions you've been asked that you feel were transphobic/genderphobic/gender-baiting. Provide context for the questions, if you like-- it's up to you how much you want to share. We'll email back and forth, and based off of other people I've photographed and what sorts of questions they've been asked, we'll decided which one to use for you.

Where do we meet, where can I be photographed, and when?
As this is highly individual, we'll talk in email. But, I'd prefer to meet in a public place and just go from there. If you're nervous about meeting someone "from the internet" bring a friend (I most likely will do this myself, as I'm notoriously bad at finding my way around places). Again, we'll discuss it in email. My schedule is very flexible, so we can work something out. All days of the week are fine, and I prefer to photograph in the morning.

What should I wear?
Whatever you like. I only ask that you refrain from wearing items with excessive logos or text (hats with text are fine though not preferred; t-shirts with text not so much), as that will distract from the text on the sign.

What will you use to photograph?
I don't have any fancy lighting equipment, so just daylight and a medium format camera. I will be photographing using black and white film, and may also use a digital camera to do some quick tests for the light.
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